Why was there “No Room” at “The Inn?”


Why was their no Room at the Inn

by Pat Miron

At the risk of demeaning my self; I confess to every year around  Christmas time, pondering why there was “no Room at the Inn” for a pregnant women, and her husband in the city of David? Both true children of Israel.

Luke 2:6-11”And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear.  And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger”

It seems to me only two possibilities could exist. Either the Inn-Keeper had in fact “sold out” all his available rooms; or he had succumbed to the greed so common in our self serving, very human nature; and was holding out for more wealthy prospects for tenants?

This brings to mind the two choices man faces when confronted with “truth.” “Submission or denial are the only options open to us. Making alternations, obstinacy, or even having received improper or inadequate instructions are simply various forms of denial, because “truth” must be a singular reality.

This season ought to be for all Christians one if introspection.  Relating this need to the situation of Mary and Joseph, we might ask ourselves: As I myself am the “Inn” that the Christ child seeks “room in.“ Do I have room? Do I make ROOM for Christ in “My personal “In” ? Is my mind, heart, soul open for Christ as MY invited and special Guest? Have I given Jesus the Christmas present that He seeks? Have I returned “my will” in favor of His Divine will? … Both Christ and me can’t be in charge; so am I able; am I willing to allow Christ to take charge of my life?

Is there room in “My In” for Christ?

; or might I, like the infamous Inn Keeper be holding out for a more lucrative self-serving tenant?

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not sounjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

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Trent on Purgatory


TRENT Lesson #19

 

CHAPTER IV.

By whom, and when, the office of preaching is to be discharged: the Parish Church to be frequented in order to hear the word of God. No one shall preach in opposition to the will of the Bishop.

 

The holy Synod, desirous that the office of preaching, which peculiarly belongs to bishops, may be exercised as frequently as possible, for the welfare of the faithful, and accommodating more aptly to the use of the present times, the canons elsewhere set forth on this subject, under Paul III., of happy memory, ordains, that the bishops shall themselves in person, each in his own church, announce the sacred Scriptures and the devine law, or if lawfully hindered, it shall be done by those whom they shall appoint to the office of preaching; and in the other churches by the parish priests, or, if they be hindered, by others to be deputed by the bishop, whether it be in the city, or in any other part whatsoever of the diocese wherein they shall judge such preaching expedient, at the charge of those who are bound, or who are accustomed, to defray it, and this at least on all Lord’s Days and solemn festivals; but, during the season of the fasts, of Lent and of the Advent of the Lord, daily, or at least on three days in the week, if the said bishop shall deem it needful; and, at other times, as often as they shall judge that it can be opportunely done. And the bishop shall diligently admonish the people, that each one is bound to be present at his own parish church, where it can be conveniently done, to hear the word of God. But no one, whether Secular or Regular, shall presume to preach, even in churches of his own order, in opposition to the will of the bishop.

The said bishops shall also take care, that, at least on the Lord’s Days and other festivals, the children in every parish be carefully taught the rudiments of the faith, and obedience towards God and their parents, by those whose duty it is, and who shall be constrained thereunto by their bishops, if need be, even by ecclesiastical censures; any privileges and customs notwithstanding. In other respects, those things decreed, under the said Paul III., concerning the office of preaching, shall have their full force.

the said court of conscience, but to them only, and not to their vicars.

CHAPTER VII

.
The virtue of the Sacraments shall, before being administered to the people, be explained by Bishops and Parish Priests; during the solemnization of mass, the sacred oracles shall be explained.

 

In order that the faithful people may approach to the reception of the sacraments with greater reverence and devotion of mind, the holy Synod enjoins on all bishops, that, not only when they are themselves about to administer them to the people, they shall first explain, in a manner suited to the capacity of those who receive them, the efficacy and use of those sacraments, but shall endeavour that the same be done piously and prudently by every parish priest; and this even in the vernacular tongue, if need be, and it can be conveniently done; and in accordance with the form which will be prescribed for each of the sacraments, by the holy Synod, in a catechism which the bishops shall take care to have faithfully translated into the vulgar tongue, and to have expounded to the people by all parish priests; as also that, during the solemnization of mass, or the celebration of the divine offices, they explain, in the said vulgar tongue, on all festivals, or solemnities, the sacred oracles, and the maxims of salvation; and that, setting aside all unprofitable questions, they endeavour to impress them on the hearts of all, and to instruct them in the law of the Lord.

CHAPTER VIII.

On public sinners, a public penance shall be imposed, unless the Bishop shall determine otherwise: a Penitentiary to be instituted in Cathedral Churches.

 

The apostle admonishes that those who sin publicly are to be reproved openly.

When, therefore, any one has, publicly and in the sight of many, committed a crime, whereby there is no doubt that others have been offended and scandalized; there must needs be publicly imposed upon him a penance suitable to the measure of his guilt; that so those whom he has allured to evil manners by his example, he may bring back to an upright life by the testimony of his amendment. The bishop, however, may, when he judges it more expedient, commute this kind of public penance into one that is secret. Likewise, in all cathedral churches, where it can be conveniently done, the bishop shall appoint a penitentiary, annexing thereto the prebend that shall next become vacant, which penitentiary shall be a master, or doctor, or licentiate in theology, or in canon law, and forty years of age, or otherwise one who shall be found more suitable considering the character of the place; and, whilst hearing confessions in the church, he shall be meanwhile reputed as present in choir.

CHAPTER X.

Where visitation and correction of morals are concerned, no suspension of decrees is allowed.

 

Bishops, that they may be the better able to keep the people whom they rule in duty and obedience, shall, in all those things which regard visitation and correction of manners, have the right and power, even as delegates of the Apostolic See, of ordaining, regulating, correcting, and executing, in accordance with the enactments of the canons, those things which, in their prudence, shall seem to them necessary for the amendment of their subjects, and for the good of their respective dioceses. Nor herein, when visitation and correction of manners are concerned, shall any exemption, or any inhibition, or appeal, or complaint, even though interposed to the Apostolic See, in any way hinder, or suspend the execution of those things which shall have been by them enjoined, decreed, or adjudged.

SESSION THE TWENTY-FIFTH,

Begun on the third, and terminated on the fourth, day of December, MDLXIII., being the ninth and last under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV.

DECREE CONCERNING PURGATORY.

 

Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, from the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught, in sacred councils, and very recently in this oecumenical Synod, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful,  but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar; the holy Synod enjoins on bishops that they diligently endeavour that the sound doctrine concerning Purgatory, transmitted by the holy Fathers and sacred councils, be believed, maintained, taught, and every where proclaimed by the faithful of Christ.

But let the more difficult and subtle questions, and which tend not to edification, and from which for the most part there is no increase of piety, be excluded from popular discourses before the uneducated multitude. In like manner, such things as are uncertain, or which labour under an appearance of error, let them not allow to be made public and treated of. While those things which tend to a certain kind of curiosity or superstition, or which savour of filthy lucre, let them prohibit as scandals and stumbling-blocks of the faithful.

But let the bishops take care, that the suffrages of the faithful who are living, to wit the sacrifices of masses, prayers, alms, and other works of piety, which have been wont to be performed by the faithful for the other faithful departed, be piously and devoutly performed, in accordance with the institutes of the church; and that whatsoever is due on their behalf, from the endowments of testators, or in other way, be discharged, not in a perfunctory manner, but diligently and accurately, by the priests and ministers of the church, and others who are bound to render this (service).

ON THE INVOCATION, VENERATION, AND RELICS, OF SAlNTS, AND ON SACRED IMAGES.

 

The holy Synod enjoins on all bishops, and others who sustain the office and charge of teaching, that, agreeably to the usage of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, received from the primitive times of the Christian religion, and agreeably to the consent of the holy Fathers, and to the decrees of sacred Councils, they especially instruct the faithful diligently concerning the intercession and invocation of saints; the honour (paid) to relics; and the legitimate use of images: teaching them, that the saints, who reign together with Christ, offer up their own prayers to God for men; that it is good and useful suppliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, (and) help for obtaining benefits from God, through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is our alone Redeemer and Saviour; but that they think impiously, who deny that the saints, who enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, are to be invocated; or who assert either that they do not pray for men; or, that the invocation of them to pray for each of us even in particular, is idolatry; or, that it is repugnant to the word of God; and is opposed to the honour of the one mediator of God and men, Christ Jesus; or, that it is foolish to supplicate, vocally, or mentally, those who reign in heaven.

Also, that the holy bodies of holy martyrs, and of others now living with Christ,-which bodies were the living members of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Ghost, and which are by Him to be raised unto eternal life, and to be glorified,–are to be venerated by the faithful; through which (bodies) many benefits are bestowed by God on men; so that they who affirm that veneration and honour are not due to the relics of saints; or, that these, and other sacred monuments, are uselessly honoured by the faithful; and that the places dedicated to the memories of the saints are in vain visited with the view of obtaining their aid; are wholly to be condemned, as the Church has already long since condemned, and now also condemns them.

Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the other saints, are to be had and retained particularly in temples, and that due honour and veneration are to be given them

; not that any divinity, or virtue, is believed to be in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that anything is to be asked of them; or, that trust is to be reposed in images, as was of old done by the Gentiles who placed their hope in idols; but because the honour which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which those images represent; in such wise that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head, and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ; and we venerate the saints, whose similitude they bear: as, by the decrees of Councils, and especially of the second Synod of Nicaea, has been defined against the opponents of images.

And the bishops shall carefully teach this,-that, by means of the histories of the mysteries of our Redemption, portrayed by paintings or other representations, the people is instructed, and confirmed in (the habit of) remembering, and continually revolving in mind the articles of faith; as also that great profit is derived from all sacred images, not only because the people are thereby admonished of the benefits and gifts bestowed upon them by Christ, but also because the miracles which God has performed by means of the saints, and their salutary examples, are set before the eyes of the faithful; that so they may give God thanks for those things; may order their own lives and manners in imitation of the saints; and may be excited to adore and love God, and to cultivate piety.

But if any one shall teach, or entertain sentiments, contrary to these decrees; let him be anathema.

And if any abuses have crept in amongst these holy and salutary observances, the holy Synod ardently desires that they be utterly abolished; in such wise that no images, (suggestive) of false doctrine, and furnishing occasion of dangerous error to the uneducated, be set up. And if at times, when expedient for the unlettered people; it happen that the facts and narratives of sacred Scripture are portrayed and represented; the people shall be taught, that not thereby is the Divinity represented, as though it could be seen by the eyes of the body, or be portrayed by colours or figures.

Moreover, in the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, every superstition shall be removed, all filthy lucre be abolished; finally, all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust; nor the celebration of the saints, and the visitation of relics be by any perverted into revellings and drunkenness; as if festivals are celebrated to the honour of the saints by luxury and wantonness.

In fine, let so great care and diligence be used herein by bishops, as that there be nothing seen that is disorderly, or that is unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing indecorous, seeing that holiness becometh the house of God.

And that these things may be the more faithfully observed, the holy Synod ordains, that no one be allowed to place, or cause to be placed, any unusual image, in any place, or church, howsoever exempted, except that image have been approved of by the bishop: also, that no new miracles are to be acknowledged, or new relics recognised, unless the said bishop has taken cognizance and approved thereof; who, as soon as he has obtained some certain information in regard to these matters, shall, after having taken the advice of theologians, and of other pious men, act therein as he shall judge to be consonant with truth and piety. But if any doubtful, or difficult abuse has to be extirpated; or, in fine, if any more grave question shall arise touching these matters, the bishop, before deciding the controversy, shall await the sentence of the metropolitan and of the bishops of the province, in a provincial Council; yet so, that nothing new, or that previously has not been usual in the Church, shall be resolved on, without having first consulted the most holy Roman Pontiff.

CHAPTER III.

The sword of excommunication is not to be rashly used: when an execution can be made on property or person, censures are to be abstained from: the civil magistrates shall not interfere herein.

 

Although the sword of excommunication is the very sinews of ecclesiastical discipline, and very salutary for keeping the people in their duty, yet it is to be used with sobriety and great circumspection; seeing that experience teaches, that if it be rashly or for slight causes wielded, it is more despised than feared, and produces ruin rather than safety. Wherefore, those excommunications, which, after certain admonitions, are wont to be issued with the view as it is termed, of causing a revelation, or on account of things that have been lost or stolen, shall be issued by no one whomsoever, but the bishop; and not then, otherwise than on account of some circumstance of no common kind which moves the mind of the bishop thereunto, after the cause has been by him diligently and very maturely weighed ; nor shall he be induced to grant the said excommunications by the

CHAPTER XII.

Tithes to be paid in full: those withholding, or hindering, the payment thereof are to be excommunicated: the Rectors of Poor Churches are to be piously relieved.

 

Those are not to be borne who, by various artifices, endeavour to withhold the tithes accruing to the churches ; nor those who rashly take possession of, and apply to their own use, the tithes which have to be paid by others; whereas the payment of tithes is due to God; and they who refuse to pay them, or hinder those who give them, usurp the property of another. Wherefore, the holy Synod enjoins on all, of whatsoever rank and condition they be, to whom it belongs to pay tithes, that they henceforth pay in full the tithes, to which they are bound in law, to the cathedral church, or to whatsoever other churches, or persons, they are lawfully due. And they who either withhold them, or hinder them (from being paid), shall be excommunicated; nor be absolved from this crime, until after full restitution has been made. It further exhorts all and each, that, of their Christian charity, and the duty which they owe to their own pastors, they grudge not, out of the good things that are given them by God, to assist bountifully those bishops and parish priests who preside over the poorer churches; to the praise of God, and to maintain the dignity of their own pastors who watch for them.

CHAPTER XIII.

The fourth of Funeral (dues) shall be paid to the Cathedral or Parish Churches.

The holy Synod ordains, that in whatsoever places, forty years ago, a fourth, as it is called, of funerals, was accustomed to be paid to the cathedral, or parish, church, but has subsequently, by virtue of whatsoever privilege, been granted to other monasteries, hospitals, or to any other kind of pious places; the same shall henceforth, with all its rights, and in the same proportion as was formerly usual, be paid to the cathedral or parish church; all grants, graces, privileges, even those called mare magnum, or any others whatsoever, to the contrary notwithstanding.

CHAPTER XXI.

In all things the authority of the Aposto1ic See shall remain untouched.

Lastly, the holy Synod declares, that all and singular the things which, under whatsoever clauses and words, have been ordained in this sacred Council, in the matter of reformation of morals, and ecclesiastical discipline, as well under the Sovereign Pontiffs, Paul III., and Julius III., of happy memory, as under the most blessed Pius IV., have been so decreed, as that the authority of the Apostolic See both is, and is understood to be, untouched thereby

 

DECREE CONCERNING INDULGENCES.

 

Whereas the power of conferring Indulgences was granted by Christ to the Church; and she has, even in the most ancient times, used the said power, delivered unto her of God; the sacred holy Synod teaches, and enjoins, that the use of Indulgences, for the Christian people most salutary, and approved of by the authority of sacred Councils, is to be retained in the Church; and It condemns with anathema those who either assert, that they are useless; or who deny that there is in the Church the power of granting them

.

In granting them, however, It desires that, in accordance with the ancient and approved custom in the Church, moderation be observed; lest, by excessive facility, ecclesastical discipline be enervated. And being desirous that the abuses which have crept therein, and by occasion of which this honourable name of Indulgences is blasphemed by heretics, be amended and corrected, It ordains generally by this decree, that all evil gains for the obtaining thereof,–whence a most prolific cause of abuses amongst the Christian people has been derived,–be wholly abolished. But as regards the other abuses which have proceeded from superstition, ignorance, irreverence, or from what soever other source, since, by reason of the manifold corruptions in the places and provinces where the said abuses are committed, they cannot conveniently be specially prohibited; It commands all bishops, diligently to collect, each in his own church, all abuses of this nature, and to report them in the first provincial Synod; that, after having been reviewed by the opinions of the other bishops also, they may forthwith be referred to the Sovereign Roman Pontiff, by whose authority and prudence that which may be expedient for the universal Church will be ordained; that this the gift of holy Indulgences may be dispensed to all the faithful, piously, holily, and incorruptly.

ON CHOICE OF MEATS; ON FASTS, AND FESTIVAL DAYS.

 

The holy Synod furthermore exhorts, and, by the most holy advent of our Lord and Saviour, conjures all pastors, that, like good soldiers, they sedulously recommend to all the faithful all those things which the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, has ordained, as also those things which, as well in this Council, as in the other oecumenical Councils, have been ordained, and to use all diligence that they be observant of all thereof, and especially of those which tend to mortify the flesh, such as the choice of meats, and fasts ; as also those which serve to promote piety, such as the devout and religious celebration of festival days; often admonishing the people to obey those set over them (Heb. xiii. 17), whom they who hear, shall hear God as a rewarder, whereas they who contemn them, shall feel God himself as an avenger.

 

ON THE INDEX OF BOOKS; ON THE CATECHISM, BREVIARY, AND MISSAL

.

 

The sacred and holy Synod, in the second Session celebrated under our most holy lord, Pius IV., commissioned certain chosen Fathers to consider what ought to be done touching various censures, and books either suspected or pernicious, and to report thereon to the said holy Synod; hearing now that the finishing hand has been put to that labour by those Fathers, which, however, by reason of the variety and multitude of books cannot be distinctly and conveniently judged of by the holy Synod; It enjoins that whatsoever has been by them done shall be laid before the most holy Roman Pontiff, that it may be by his judgment and authority terminated and made public. And it commands that the same be done in regard of the Catechism, by the Fathers to whom that work was consigned, and as regards the missal and breviary.

touching the sacraments and other matters, which seemed to be necessary for confuting heresies, removing abuses, and amending morals, were by the sacred and holy Synod with the most perfect liberty and diligence, treated of, and accurately and most deliberately defined, explained, and ordained, which being completed, the Council was brought to a close with so great unanimity on the part of all who assisted thereat, that it was plain that such agreement was the Lord’s doing, and it was very wonderful in our eyes, and those of all. For which so singular a bounty, We at once appointed solemn processions in this good city, which were assisted at with great piety by the clergy and people; and We made it our care that the thanksgivings so justly due should be paid to the divine majesty; forasmuch as the issue of that Council has brought with it a great and well nigh assured hope that greater fruits will day by day be derived unto the Church from the decrees and constitutions thereof.

brethren the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, and, above all, having invoked the assistance of the Holy Spirit; after that we had ascertained that all those decrees were Catholic, and useful and salutary to the Christian people, We, to the praise of Almighty God, with the advice and assent of our brethren aforesaid, have this day, in our secret consistory, confirmed by Apostolic authority all and singular those decrees, and have ordained that the same be received and observed by all the faithful of Christ; as also, for the clearer information of all men, We do, by the tenour of this letter, confirm them, and ordain that they be received and observed.

 

End of

 

TRENT Study

This has been greatly edited to remove topics not relevant to our Catholic Faith Formation. Next week we begin a New Series.

THNAKS for hanging in with me

Continued Blessings,

Pat

 

 

 

 

Why is Christmas December 25th.?


My dear friends in Christ Jesus,

Christmas

 

 

Greetings! Joy to the World, for God is with Us!

This is an amazing time of the year. There are far more secular celebrations, amid pagan propaganda based on the celebration of Christmas being grounded in pagan rituals, than Worship of our most Amazing God.

Say ye among the Gentiles, the Lord hath reigned. For he hath corrected the world, which shall not be moved: he will judge the people with justice.

Psalms 95:10

When one ponders the realities and Natural Laws of the Universe being Created so that man alone could, if he chooses to do so; know that God truly exist because it exist only for mans sake; and still does not permit this reality to effect the practice of their faith, and beliefs, we can easily see how truly Blessed we are.

Be not afraid Gen. 45: 5

While there are more than One BILLION Catholics world-wide; about half of them, for a multitude of personal, self-serving reasons; give only occasional “lip-service” to God as there ungrateful response for all that He has Done; Does, and will Do for us.  And yet; this really is the season of  Great “Joy!”

For I am the Lord your God: be holy because I am holy Lev. 11:44

About half of all self proclaimed Catholics [and one assumes Christians too], voted to reelect Oboma and the Democratic Party Platform that promotes killing babies; desires to redefine “marriage” to include same sex couples; and hijacked America’s Religious Liberty. A PEW Report from a few years ago found that as many as 90% of “catholics” no longer go to Confession even Once a Year, and that a similar number are practicing Contraceptive sex. A Mortal sin. Yet how many people who still attend Mass continue to go to Communion each week? Do they not understand who, and what they are receiving? Because we DO! We are truly Blessed!

I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you.

John 14:18

Why me; Why now: Why here

?  are not even a consideration for many Christians. Yet we may be living in one of the most important time-periods of our Entire Church history? The American Bishops response and our own reactions to the HHS mandates could forever change the practice of our beliefs in America and even world wide. NEVER has Christianity been at greater risk in America, than in the present times. And STILL we have cause to be filled with Joy.

May the Lord hear thee in the day of tribulation: may the name of the God of Jacob protect thee.

Psalms 19:2  … And when my glory shall pass, I will set thee in a hole of the rock, and protect thee with my right hand, till I pass: Exodus 33:22

“Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it; and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them.”

Pope St. Felix III
That GOD; the Creator of everything and everyone would have the humility to “become Incarnate man” in order to REDEEM the entire world as a completely helpless, tiny defenseless baby; reliant on a human mother and a human foster-father is incomprehensible. To than add to this Miracle; the conditions of being born in a cave, among animals; only a small fire for heat; limited water and in abject poverty is something we cannot make sense of. And yet; that was, and that is God’s choice for His beloved humanity. God was then in charge; and God REMAINS in charge today. THAT is the reason for our Joy! And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Luke 2: 2-14 “

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!

Each of us is here at this present time and in our present condition, for a reason. We may or may not comprehend fully what exactly it is, but we can trust that God is WITH US, and desires that we be fully- united to Him.

That is the cause of our Joy! God will not fail us; IF, we do not fail Him.

So regardless of our present circumstances; give THANKS for all that we have been given, and for the forth coming opportunities God will make evident to us. The closer we permit ourselves to be united to Christ; the more Christ can and will do for us and those we love.

I mentioned at the beginning that pagans too “love” this time of year. They do so because it affords a real [semi-legitimate] opportunity for Catholic and Christian bashing.

If I were to ask: “when was Christ born?”  Most; maybe even all, of us world respond;

“On December 25th.”  BUT was that REALLY the date Christ came to earth? None of us were there, but very likely

the answer is NO! So why then do [most] Christians celebrate The Birth of Christ on December 25th?

Here then is the history behind this date. And yes; it was founded on pagan practices; and that was the precise reason for the date selection. Please

READ ON.

http://www.thisisscunthorpe.co.uk/Important-recall-real-meaning-Christmas/story-17575559-detail/story.html quoted below:

“VERY often on Christmas cards a picture of a crib or manger is shown among sprigs and wreaths of holly and stockings of presents – a good reminder to us all of the importance of making sure we leave room for the real meaning of Christmas.

This is the time of the year when we get caught up with the Christmas rush: card writing, present buying, food shopping and general preparations to spend more quality time with family and friends.

However, when reflecting on the picture of the crib scene I realize how easily I can overlook the enormous significance of what Christians are celebrating.

I get so used to seeing pictures of brightly lit nativity scenes with their clean straw, clean animals, smiling parents and perfect sleeping baby, that I forget the reality of the world into which Jesus was born. I forget the tremendous difficulties which Mary and Joseph would have experienced as a couple because of Jesus’ birth. I forget the awful conditions in which Jesus really came into the world.

Nothing that we ever see depicted on a traditional Christmas card – much of which is still experienced in Palestine/Israel and conflict-torn areas today.

And yet the truth is, as we are told in John’s Gospel, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son”.

During this season we make a special effort of celebrating Jesus’ birth because we are celebrating the truth of God’s love for each and every one of us – love which is shown to us in the person of Jesus Christ. God himself living as one of us

, [SO THAT WE COULD DISCOVER GOD; AS A “GOOD GOD”; AND A “LOVING GOD”; AND SO THAT GOD COULD EXPERIENCE FOR HIMSELF, THE “HUMAN CONDITION” AND BECOME EVEN CLOSER TO US; ENCOURAGING A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP FOUNDED ON MUTUAL LOVE AND MUTUAL SACRIFIECEPJM …experiencing life, with all its joys and pains, and ultimately giving himself on the cross.

When we begin to reflect on all of this, then we understand something of why it is important to make space in our lives to celebrate Jesus’ birth. A time to also appreciate and enjoy our meaningful relationships.

As we do so, offer a prayer for those less fortunate than ourselves. Where possible contribute to the many organizations which serve to bring relief to those who lack the basic necessities in life. END QUOTE

“Why do we celebrate

Christmas on December 25?”

http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA68/Why-do-we-celebrate-Christmas-on-December-25 

“December 25 is the traditional anniversary of the birth of Christ, but most scholars are unsure about the true date for Christ’s birth.

The decision to celebrate Christmas on December 25 was made sometime during the fourth century by church bishops in Rome. They had a specific reason for doing so.

Having turned long ago from worshiping the one true God and creator of all things, many early cultures in the Roman empire had fallen into sun worship. Recognizing their dependence on the sun’s yearly course in the heavens, they held feasts around the winter solstice in December when the days are shortest. As part of their festivals, they built bonfires to give the sun god strength and bring him back to life again. When it became apparent that the days were growing longer, there would be great rejoicing.

The church leaders in Rome decided to celebrate Christ’s birth during the winter solstice in an attempt to Christianize these popular pagan celebrations

. For the most part their efforts failed to make the people conform, and the heathen festivities continued. Today we find ourselves left with a bizarre marriage of pagan and Christian elements that characterizes our modern celebration of Christmas.

Regardless of the pagan background of so many December traditions, and whether or not Jesus was born on December 25th, our goal is still to turn the eyes of all men upon the true Creator and Christ of Christmas.

The light of the world has come. And the Christmas season and celebration presents the church with a wonderful opportunity to preach the good news–that men can be made righteous and have peace with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ” END Quote

“CHRISTMAS: Why December 25?

For the church’s first three centuries, Christmas wasn’t in December—or on the calendar at all. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2000/dec08.html

For the church’s first three centuries, Christmas wasn’t in December—or on the calendar at all. By: Elesha Coffman

“It’s very tough for us North Americans to imagine Mary and Joseph trudging to Bethlehem in anything but, as Christina Rosetti memorably described it, “the bleak mid-winter,” surrounded by “snow on snow on snow.” To us, Christmas and December are inseparable. But for the first three centuries of Christianity, Christmas wasn’t in December—or on the calendar anywhere.

If observed at all, the celebration of Christ’s birth was usually lumped in with Epiphany (January 6), [still done in some countries…PJM]

one of the church’s earliest established feasts. Some church leaders even opposed the idea of a birth celebration. Origen (c.185-c.254) preached that it would be wrong to honor Christ in the same way Pharaoh and Herod were honored. Birthdays were for pagan gods.

Not all of Origen’s contemporaries agreed that Christ’s birthday shouldn’t be celebrated, and some began to speculate on the date (actual records were apparently long lost). Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) favored May 20 but noted that others had argued for April 18, April 19, and May 28. Hippolytus (c.170-c.236) championed January 2. November 17, November 20, and March 25 all had backers as well. A Latin treatise written around 243 pegged March 21, because that was believed to be the date on which God created the sun. Polycarp (c.69-c.155) had followed the same line of reasoning to conclude that Christ’s birth and baptism most likely occurred on Wednesday, because the sun was created on the fourth day.

The eventual choice of December 25, made perhaps as early as 273,

reflects a convergence of Origen’s concern about pagan gods and the church’s identification of God’s son with the celestial sun. December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman “birth of the unconquered sun”), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian “Sun of Righteousness” whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. The winter solstice, another celebration of the sun, fell just a few days earlier. Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival.

Western Christians first celebrated Christmas on December 25 in 336, after Emperor Constantine had declared Christianity 

[Catholism was the ONLY from of Christianity at that time] the empire’s favored religion.

Eastern churches, however, held on to January 6 as the date for Christ’s birth and his baptism. Most easterners eventually adopted December 25, celebrating Christ’s birth on the earlier date and his baptism on the latter, but the Armenian church celebrates his birth on January 6. Incidentally, the Western church does celebrate Epiphany on January 6, but as the arrival date of the Magi rather than as the date of Christ’s baptism.

Another wrinkle was added in the sixteenth century when Pope Gregory devised a new calendar, which was unevenly adopted. The Eastern Orthodox and some Protestants retained the Julian calendar, which meant they celebrated Christmas 13 days later than their Gregorian counterparts. Most—but not all—of the Christian world now agrees on the Gregorian calendar and the December 25 date.

The pagan origins of the Christmas date, as well as pagan origins for many Christmas customs (gift-giving and merrymaking from Roman Saturnalia; greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year; Yule logs and various foods from Teutonic feasts), have always fueled arguments against the holiday. “It’s just paganism wrapped with a Christian bow,” naysayers argue

. But while kowtowing to worldliness must always be a concern for Christians, the church has generally viewed efforts to reshape culture—including holidays—positively. As a theologian asserted in 320, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of him who made it.” End Quote

Elesha can be reached at

cheditor@ChristianityToday.com.

This is another site you can check out that seems worthy of the effort to do so.

http://www.bib-arch.org/e-features/christmas.asp

My gratitude is extended to each of for allowing me the opportunity to share our Catholic Faith. Together we can discover what Christ; OUR GOD, expects of us, and be granted all of the graces we need to merit and follow HIS WAY. The surest way to heaven is by accepting and living the advise of Mary; His Mother AND OURS:

“DO WHAT EVER HE TELLS YOU.Amen. John 2:5

Know that my Christmas Mass will be offered up for YOU and your loved ones,

Continued Blessings in Christ,

Have a Holy, Happy, Healthy

JOYOUS Christmas!  2012

Pat Miron

LATE ADDITION:

9 things you need to know about Christmas

by Jimmy Akin Saturday, December 22, 2012 5:35 PM Comments

This is the actual Grotto of the Nativity under the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Why is there so much confusion today about Christmas and what it means?

There’s a lot of confusion about Christmas.

Is it a day? Is it a season? Is it based on a pagan holiday? What is its real meaning?

Here are 9 things you should know about Christmas .

1. What is “the real meaning of Christmas”?

Although many voices in pop culture suggest that the true meaning of Christmas is being kind to each other, or being with our families, or something like that, the real meaning of the day–and the season it begins–is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest. The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:

The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
and the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
and the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us,
Little Child, God eternal!

2. Christmas is not based on a pagan holiday.

No matter how many times you hear Sheldon Cooper (or anyone else) say Christmas is based on a pagan holiday (whether Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, or anything else), we simply have no evidence of this.

If you read the writings of the Church Fathers, you do not find those who assign Christmas to December 25th saying things like, “Let’s put Jesus’ birthday here so we can subvert a pagan holiday.” (Not that subverting pagan holidays is a bad thing.) They simply don’t do that.

The ones who say Jesus was born on December 25th do so because that is when they think he was born.

In his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict comments:

“The claim used to be made that December 25 developed in opposition to the Mithras myth, or as a Christian response to the cult of the unconquered sun promoted by Roman emperors in the third century in their efforts to establish a new imperial religion. However, these old theories can no longer be sustained” (pp., 107-108).

3. Christmas is the second oldest Christian annual Christian celebration.

The Church’s liturgical celebration of Christmas is discussed in a document called the

Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar [.pdf].

According to the Universal Norms:

32. After the annual celebration of the Paschal Mystery [that is, Easter], the Church has no more ancient custom than celebrating the memorial of the Nativity of the Lord and of his first manifestations, and this takes place in Christmas Time.

4. Christmas is not one day long. It also is not twelve days long.

We tend to think of Christmas as being just December 25th, but the Christmas season lasts longer than that.

Many think of the “twelve days of Christmas,” but the Christmas season is actually variable in length, depending on how soon a Sunday occurs after January 6th.

Here is the official rule for when it begins and ends:

33. Christmas Time runs from First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of the Nativity of the Lord up to and including the Sunday after Epiphany or after 6 January.

This year (2012-2013), Christmas Time will run until

January 13th (the Sunday after January 6).

5. What Christmas Masses are celebrated? And does there have to be a “midnight Mass”?

There is no mandated Mass at midnight, so don’t get mad at your parish if they have it at a different time.

Here is what the Universal Norms say about how the Masses are supposed to work:

34. The Vigil Mass of the Nativity is used on the evening of 24 December, either before or after First Vespers (Evening Prayer I).

On the day of the Nativity of the Lord, following ancient roman tradition, Mass may be celebrated three times, that is, in the night, at dawn and during the day.

6. Christmas has its own “octave.”

Embedded within the Christmas season is an “octave”–a period of eight days–that begins on Christmas Day itself. You could think of it as a season within a season.

Here’s how the days of the octave are structured:

35. The nativity of the lord has its own octave, arranged thus:

a. sunday within the octave or, if there is no sunday, 30 december, is the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph;

b. 26 december is the feast of Saint Stephen, the first Martyr;

c. 27 december is the feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist;

d. 28 december is the feast of the Holy Innocents;

e. 29, 30, and 31 December are days within the octave;

f. 1 January, the octave day of the Nativity of the Lord, is the solemnity of Mary, the holy Mother of God, and also the commemoration of the conferral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

7. The Sundays of Christmas are also special.

The Sundays of Christmas Time have special significance as well. According to the Universal Norms:

36. The Sunday falli

ng between 2 January and 5 January is the second Sunday after the Nativity.

37. The Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on 6 January, unless, where it is not observed as a holyday of obligation, it has been assigned to the sunday occurring between 2 and 8 January (cf. no. 7).

38. The Sunday falling after 6 January is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord

8. What is the “Epiphany” of the Lord?

The word “epiphany” means “manifestation” (display, revealing). The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world.

The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.

In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation.

The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.

Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.

The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).

9. Why is the Baptism of Jesus significant?

The Catechism explains:

536

The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.

Already he is anticipating the “baptism” of his bloody death.

Already he is coming to “fulfil all righteousness”, that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.

The Father’s voice responds to the Son’s acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son.

The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to “rest on him”.

Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism “the heavens were opened” – the heavens that Adam’s sin had closed – and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.

Read more:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-christmas#ixzz2FuUp68TL


The Blessed Virgin Mary

Model of Faith and First Believer

by: Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio

The Beatitudes rank high on the list of all-time favorite Bible passages. But what is beatitude, anyway? In the bible, a “blessed” person is someone who has received gifts of the greatest value, gifts that lead to true fulfillment and lasting happiness.

If I were to ask you to name the first beatitude, you’d probably say “blessed be the poor in Spirit.” According to Matthew you’d be right, but not according to Luke. At the very beginning of his gospel, Luke reveals that the very first beatitude is uttered by a woman filled with the Spirit, speaking of another woman overshadowed by the Spirit. Elizabeth says, “Blessed is she who has believed.” (Luke 1: 45).

Is Marian devotion important in Christian life? This has been a bone of contention between Catholics and Protestants for nearly 500 years.

Let’s look at the evidence in just the first chapter of Luke. First, the Angel Gabriel honors her with the greeting “Hail, full of grace” (Luke 1:29). Then Elizabeth prophesies “blessed are you among women.” Next the prophet John leaps for joy in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. Then, in her response to Elizabeth, Mary prophesies “all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48).

But it is Elizabeth’s final words to Mary that hold the key to understanding why she is she is to honored, namely, her faith.

One of the battle-cries of the Protestant Reformation was “Faith Alone!” One key conviction that united the many disparate strands of the Reformation was that it is impossible to earn God’s favor by our good works, but rather we receive his love as a pure gift, a grace, through faith.

Now consider Mary. Did she criss-cross the Mediterranean planting Churches like Paul? Did she give eloquent sermons like Stephen (Acts 7). Did she govern the Church like Peter? No. Her claim to fame is that she simply said yes to God. She believed He could do as he said and would do as He said.

But true faith is not just intellectual conviction that God exists or that He can do thus and such. Faith involves entrusting oneself, abandoning oneself to God, willing to submit to his will. That’s why Paul talks about “the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26). She surrendered her plan for her life, and yielded to God’s plan. And she did this not once, but again and again, even when he left her to begin his public ministry. And when that ministry led to the horror of Calvary, her faith stood its ground at the foot of the cross.

So Catholics honor Mary for being the perfect example of the greatest Protestant virtue. Ironic isn’t it? And the deepest meaning of that disputed doctrine, the Immaculate Conception, is that it was the grace of God working mysteriously from the moment of conception that made possible Mary’s exemplary life of faith. Even her faith is a gift of His grace. It’s all grace, according to Catholic doctrine.

Mary, of course, knew this. That’s why she responded to Elizabeth’s praise with the humble, exuberant prayer known as the Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” She is like the crystal-clear pool that reflects the suns rays back to the heavens. So no one needs to fear that honor given her will detract from the majesty of Her divine Son. She deflects all the praise given her right back to God, the source of her greatness.

So the answer is that Marian devotion is necessary in Christian life. But what is true devotion to Mary according to the fathers of the Second Vatican Council? Not sentimental piety or gullible preoccupation with every rumored apparition. But rather, imitation of her virtues, particularly her faith (Lumen Gentium 67).

Evangualization In the Catholic Church


Evangelization in Our Catholic Church

My dear friends in Christ,

Please join me on this journey of discovery. I’d like to say “brief”, but I don’t yet  know myself  exactly where this road is going to lead us?

A regular part of my prayer life is to ask the Holy Spirit to lead, direct and command me. So out of the blue so to speak, as soon as I had uttered this prayer today, came this thought. [Today is December 21st., 2012]. Can WE [like Mary], give birth to Jesus?” …. This passage immediately came to my mind.

John 1:1-5

”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. “ As I was puzzling over the meaning for US, in the present time for this particular passage, another insight was given to me.

 

Matthew 5: 10-10

[which follows directly Christ gift of the Beatitudes]

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. … “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Ahh; so the answer then is yes!

We can metaphorically give  new “birth to Christ” in the present times. But a question lingers: How are we to accomplish this?  While I have formulated over time my own response to this command; I’m aware that each of us is different in the gifts given to us by Christ; and our personal circumstances of Why me? Why now? Why here?  So I did a bit of research, on what might be of help, at least in general terms for us, and here’s what I uncovered,

I suspect that there may be as many ways to evangelize as there are people reading this post? Yet, I also expect that there are some common and applicable things we can all learn, adapt and apply in fulfilling our obligations to at least try to give “new birth to Christ.” Towards this goal I submit the following, which is edited for space; and for which I am supplying the site information for those seeking greater details.

http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=559

“Ten Keys to Effective Evangelization”

1. Personal Relationship with Christ

: This will surprise nobody, but it still needs to be stressed. It is very easy to become what we might call a Catholic by rote, that is, somebody who follows a kind of minimal set of rules, living the Christian life in an essentially prescriptive way. Such a person frequently asks, “What do I need to do to at least make it to purgatory?” Or “What does the Church require of me to be a ‘good Catholic’?”

2. Personal Relationship with the Church

: Any significant theological reflection will reveal that this point is simply another side of the first point. The Church is the Body of Christ, united by Christ’s assimilation of us to Himself in the Eucharist, and inseparably joined to Christ the Head. All that Our Lord offers to draw men and women into union with God is made available through the Church. 

3. A Different Way of Living Morally

: This too may go without saying, and yet it is easily overlooked by Catholics who do not lead what we call an “examined” life. Our moral behavior must become the behavior of a [CATHOLIC] Christian, that is, of a saint. How we live in our daily life—in our personal and sexual relations, in our speech, in our social attitudes, in our use of time, in our priorities—must be marked by Christian, that is, saintly values.

4. Disciplines of Renewal

The points above certainly qualify as a tall order. How do we habituate ourselves to these “ways of being”? I am not interested here in what the Church, or the bishop, or the priest “ought to do” to make this happen. Each person’s spiritual perfection will bear fruit in the realm of his own life and responsibilities.

5. Prayer

: Put simply, the Christian life cannot be lived without prayer, and plenty of it. I include in this category the all-important regular reception of the Sacraments of the Church, which have a special power to fill us with the life of Christ—but a power than we can effectively utilize only if we have the right dispositions. And the right dispositions grow through prayer. It is through prayer that we learn to know God, to know ourselves, to recognize the difference, to discern God’s will generally and particularly, and to increase in the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Among other forms of prayer, Eucharistic adoration should play an important role, for obvious reasons. In any case, to put the matter very simply, Christians pray; if they do not, they are not really Christians.

6. Spiritual Reading

: Here we have the most accessible form of spiritual instruction and direction, the practice of slowly reading and meditating on Scripture and the works of the great saints and doctors approved by the Church. For nearly all souls, spiritual reading immensely accelerates spiritual growth. God works in us in many other ways, of course, but for a literate person, it takes an extraordinary action of God, really an extra miracle of grace, to compensate for an unwillingness to take advantage of solid, prayerful spiritual reading. On this see also 2 Tim 3:16.

7. Charitable Works

: Works of charity are at once a spiritual discipline and a fruit of our love of God and neighbor. Here I treat them primarily in the former sense—as a means to the end defined in our first points.

Particular Tools for Evangelization

Perhaps all of the foregoing is too obvious. But perhaps that is part of the point. There is no magic bullet for evangelization, no particular program to guarantee results, no decree to be passed down from on high to generate mass conversions.

8. Knowledge of Scripture

: The two great sources of Revelation are Scripture and Tradition, but while Tradition benefits people spiritually insofar as it is lived and handed on, as it seeps into our bones over time, Scripture has a direct and immediate spiritual power as the Word of God. [We need not memorize the bible; but had better know what’s in it; and what lessons it teaches. PJM]

9. Traditions and Customs

: In our secularized societies, we have lost much of the warp and woof of the Christian life in our daily personal, familial and community habits, customs and celebrations. I am referring here to traditions with a small “t”, both the kinds of little practices and customs which populate the

liturgical year section on CatholicCulture.org and the larger habits of family prayer, meals in common, hospitality, rules of Christian courtship, and all such methods of more easily incorporating a guiding spirituality into work, recreation and life as a whole.

 

10. The Skill of Detachment

: Let me close with something that might seem a bit unusual. I believe all effective evangelists need to recognize (and live in accordance with) sharp distinctions between, on the one hand, all that is definitely revealed by God as essential to Christ and, on the other hand, all of our favorite opinions on such things as politics, culture, entertainment, private devotions, personal dress, and a hundred other things which prevent our interacting with others as the potential kindred spirits that they really are. The goal in evangelization is for us to speak in a way that enables others to hear, not us, but Christ. For this to happen, detachment from our own prejudices, preferences and opinions is essential.

First,

it would be wrong to conclude that nothing more is necessary. The unique challenge of what the Church is calling the new evangelization is that it must take place in a culture in which Christianity is partially known yet widely rejected as an affront to civilized behavior. Our culture frowns on the introduction of Jesus Christ in any but the most private circumstances. We have been raised in and formed by this highly secular culture, and we have imbibed its prescriptions. Speaking of Christ, of Faith, of Church is really not quite the thing. It simply isn’t done! Not by a gentleman, anyway. Self-evidently, evangelization cannot occur unless we can overcome this inculturated reluctance in ourselves. Only if that is overcome can we explore possible specific paths or tactics of evangelization which might bear fruit.  Obviously there is more work to be done regarding practical methods, but only the spiritual growth outlined above can lead us to break the barrier of respectability which our culture has established between man and God.

Second, if evangelization ultimately depends on the kind of growth and commitment outlined above, it would still be wrong to argue that we should not involve ourselves in Christian witness until we are perfect

.

We will never be perfect; nor does Our Lord require perfection before we dare to preach. For His part, He loved all of us while we were still in our sins, and even with all of our sins, by His sacrifice Our Lord has made us as worthy to speak His name as others are to hear it.

In a previous essay on

the three most important characteristics of an evangelizer, I stressed humility, hospitality, and trust in God. This is the way to begin. Let people criticize our own weaknesses, as long as they criticize them in the light of Christ. Let them shoot the messenger, as long as they get the message.

 

[1] Humility

: Humility is, of course, the very ground of holiness. It is the virtue by which we recognize who God is and who we are, that we are not God, and that in point of fact we depend entirely on God not only for our existence but for every good work. There are two sides to this virtue. The first is a radical reliance upon God, which I will treat as a separate characteristic below. The second is the recognition and acceptance of our own inescapable inadequacy in sharing the Christian life with others, which is what I wish to focus on here.

If we are embarrassed by our inadequacies we will be reluctant to expose them or to admit them when others cheerfully expose them for us. This is the result of pride and self-love. An effective evangelizer will always be frank about his own deficiencies in both virtue and knowledge. Questions will come up to which the evangelizer has no ready answer. Rather than bluster, he should welcome the opportunity to explore the answers together with any sincere non-believer who is genuinely seeking to know more. Similarly, questions will arise which touch on moral struggle. An evangelizer should freely admit that he too participates in this struggle, that the struggle is in no way shameful, and that one of the blessings of the Christian life is to provide mutual assistance toward the goal of greater union with God.

It takes humility to open ourselves to others in these ways, but humility is the mark of personal authenticity. It cannot be faked, and it is always attractive. Far better to be willing to engage another in the Christ life on terms of equal need than either to hide our light or be correctly perceived as a self-righteous know-it-all.

[2] Hospitality

: Another outgrowth of humility, when combined with the charity to which humility opens the way, is a willingness to invite others into our “space”. As we begin to see whatever gifts we possess as gifts for others, our all too human desire to be left alone diminishes. Hospitality in the formal sense of welcoming others into our homes and treating them as family has always been considered a Christian virtue. It is also a vital means of establishing contact with those non-believers whom we are most called to influence: relatives, friends and associates who are open to our invitations despite not sharing our faith.

But the hospitality I am referring to here goes a little deeper than the formal commitments of social gatherings or holiday get-togethers, as valuable as these are. What must lie at the core of our relationships with others is a radical openness to allowing them in. Each person is a brother or sister wholly deserving of our attention—not an interruption or a distraction, and still less a nuisance. Obviously we must make prudent judgments concerning time and energy, especially in light of our primary responsibilities to immediate family and to the work for which we are compensated. But even in terms of evangelization, potential effectiveness will be dramatically increased insofar as others sense that we think them important, that they are more than welcome to share our joy.

This constant projection of authentic personal hospitality, this heartfelt ability to provide a welcome, is another essential component of evangelization.

[3] Trust in God

: As I suggested under the heading of humility, a Christian would be very foolish to achieve only the worldly half of humility, which is a sense of inadequacy so profound as to send us running for cover, never to attempt any good for the remainder of our worthless lives. To the contrary, the Christian realization of humility is a realization not that we are worthless but that we depend on God because God loves us. Our weakness is the key to our greatness, because God wants us to fulfill the aspirations of our nature through union with Himself.

Since this is the case, we must depend on God in everything, constantly asking him to make up for what we lack, to use us as His instruments for whatever good He wishes to accomplish through us. Prayer, then, will be as constant a part of our program of evangelization as it is of our program of spiritual growth.

Faith remains a gift, and we remain but instruments of that gift. The giver is God alone. In all efforts at evangelization, we must be confident not in ourselves as instruments, but in God as giver. Our job is to trust that He will use us if we allow ourselves to be used. We do not insist on obvious success, for it is not the instrument which appraises success but the One who uses the instrument. And surely we must know that one may sow while another reaps (Jn 4:37)! But there is only one Lord of the harvest (Mt 9:38), and He alone is wholly good (Mk 10:18).

[3a]

Speaking of ourselves in the wearisome course of human life, hesitation and uncertainty are normal. Indeed, if we did not experience our own inadequacy, we would have no hope at all. But we are right to have confidence in the One who is good, the only One who was ever wholly right to say, “Don’t worry! Be happy!”—the One who could and did say, “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).[END Quote]

As I shared earlier; this is the edited version. You may wish to check it out for yourself? The key’s in summary form is to 1. Know and live our faith fully and publicly. 2. Have a strong and disciplined prayer and worship life. 3. Trust in God’s help and call on Him for it whenever your about to share our faith. 4. If you don’t know the correct answer; don’t pretend that you do. Tell them your “not completely sure” and that you’ll get them the information they seek. Then DO IT. 5. Allow God to be in charge  and lead you to the opportunities He wants you to have; at least until you are experienced enough to do otherwise.

Here is a second site with information for us.

Evangelization in the Catholic Church

http://www.evangelicalcatholic.org/evangelization-in-the-church

“An evangelized person is someone deeply touched by the “good news” (euangel- in Greek) known in Christ Jesus. The goal of all evangelization is to help those living without the good news know the fullness of life Christ said he came to bring.

The good news is the joy, fulfillment, challenge to grow, the peace beyond understanding, the comfort, the counsel, the call to help needing people and billions of blessings we experience because Christ is the center of our lives.

Catholics have a special commission to evangelize non-practicing Catholics, the baptized but unchurched, and those alienated from the Church for whatever reason

. [This is especially true because there can be and is Only One God; set of Faith beliefs and Church which is both logical and biblical…PJM]   …We also, along with our Protestant brethren, reach out to those living without the light of the world, Jesus. The laity are particularly charged with this work because we have so many opportunities in daily life.

Evangelization is simply sharing our story

(witness) within trusting relationships, with those to whom our experiences and stories matter, as theirs matter to us. [SO my friends: always be ready to explain why YOU are a Catholic…PJM] When our lives revolve around our relationship with Christ, that relationship influences everything we do and are. We share our experience of Christ within trusting relationships as naturally as we would talk about any important person in our lives. [Never brag, or argue. Simply state in simple terms the truth which must be singular: Because there is Only One God; there can be only One correct set of Faith beliefs; and because of these two facts and following the Tradition of the OT; just one church…PJM]

Common steps:

1. Evangelization: Individuals formed by an encounter with Christ in the Church develop the desire for a deeper encounter with Christ, often through the invitation of those already formed by mentors. Those outside the Church become curious about Christianity through the witness of the faithful.

2. Establishing: Those drawn to this deeper encounter with Christ are established as committed disciples of Jesus through mentoring formation in prayer, sacraments, scripture-prayer/lectio, and service. [Simple things like inviting one to Mass with you; and then discussing what was felt and experienced…PJM’

3. Equipping: As they are established, disciples come to embrace Jesus’ request that his followers reach out to others with the joy and love they have known in Christ and community. Mature disciples want to be equipped for witness, especially within trusting relationships.

4. Engagement: Established and equipped disciples form and train other potential leaders. They use their gifts and energy to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world through their personal and spiritual gifts. [END Quote] So use what ever God has given to you. Be it little or much. TRUST in God’s help and Divine providence. PJM

And here from the

USCCB website: United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops:

“Go and Make Disciples

– Why We Evangelize” [Also edited for space. PJM]

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/evangelization/go-and-make-disciples/go-and-make-disciples-a-national-plan-and-strategy-for-catholic-evangelization-in-the-united-states.cfm

28.

We must evangelize because the Lord Jesus commanded us to do so. He gave the Church the unending task of evangelizing as a restless power, to stir and to stimulate all its actions until all nations have heard his Good News and until every person has become his disciple.

30. We evangelize because people must be brought to the salvation that Jesus the Lord offers in and through the Church. While we acknowledge that the grace of God is mysteriously present in all lives, people all too often resist this grace. They refuse change and repentance.

32. The Lord gave us a message that is unique. All faiths are not merely different versions of the same thing. Knowing Christ Jesus and belonging to his Church are not the same as believing anything else and belonging to any other community.

Pope John Paul II has pointed out, “While acknowledging that God loves all people and grants them the possibility of being saved (cf. 1 Tm 2:4), the Church believes that God has established Christ as the one mediator and that she herself has been established as the universal sacrament of salvation.” The unique claim of our message does not negate the sincerity and faith of others; likewise, the sincerity and faith of others do not take away from the clarity and truth of our message. As Pope John Paul II reminds us, “It is necessary to keep these two truths together, namely, the real possibility of salvation in Christ for all mankind and the necessity of the Church for salvation. Both these truths help us to understand the one mystery of salvation.”

36. Here, there are two elements at work: witness, which is the simple living of the faith; and sharing, which is spreading the Good News of Jesus in an explicit way.

39. Millions of Catholics no longer practice their faith. Although many of them may say they are Catholic, they no longer worship with the community and thereby deprive themselves of the gifts of word and sacrament. Some were never formed in the faith after their childhood. Some have drifted away because of one or another issue. Some feel alienated from the Church because of the way they perceive the Church or its teaching. Some have left because they were mistreated by church representatives.

41. Our plan also asks Catholics to reach out to those who do not belong to a faith community and to invite them to consider the power of the Gospel of Jesus, which the riches of the Catholic Church can bring into their lives. Perhaps this may seem the most difficult of all the tasks evangelization asks of us. Yet if we have once seen the joy of those received into the Church at Easter, if we have ever experienced the growth of those going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, if we have ever seen someone thrilled with the Gospel for the first time in his or her life, we know that this is, in truth, one of the sweetest gifts of the Spirit.

44. People of other non-Christian religions also have the right to hear the Gospel, as missionaries have brought it over the centuries. Then there are those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church but nevertheless seek God with sincere hearts and seek to do God’s will as they know it. [End Quote]

Friends there is a GREAT deal good information more on their web site.

We have not exposed a magic “How to Do It program,” because there is none that has a set of “key’s” that will unlock every door. That said; we Catholics alone Do have ALL of the necessary key’s essential for ones salvation. Sort of the “Mater Key’s” to the single gate that accesses heaven.  … Cf. Matthew 16:15-19. We alone have the mandate from Christ to “go and teach the entire world what I [Jesus] have personally taught “you.” ”. Matthew 28:16-20 and we alone have not only the Holy Spirit; but also Jesus Himself in Person as a guide and warranty of ALL of our Teaching Truths on Faith and Moral matters. John 14:16-17; John 17:15-19 and john 20:21-22. We alone have the Fullness of God’s truth Matthew 16:18-19. So we have more God-provided tools than anyone else; we alone have the singular truths of Salvation. We alone are grounded and founded upon ROCK, and not sand or even quicksand. And because of this God can and God will expect more from us; BUT also give us more grace and help than anyone else.

Matt.13: 12 “For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; [BE GIVEN EVEN MORE!] but from him who has not, even what he has will betaken away .” John 15:5

I am the vine: you the branches: he that abides in me, and I in him, [Catholism alone] the [will] same bear much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.” Amen.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Now let your light shine on others, as God’s grace shines on us.

Rely on God, who too relies on us One can never pray too much. Amen.

In Christ: Love and prayers,

Pat Miron

Hmmm, I Wonder …


Hmmm, I Wonder who is being addresses here?

“Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it; and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them.”
Pope St. Felix III

The Wisdom Of B…


The Wisdom Of Bishop Sheen

“Our Lord was crucified by the nice people who held that religion was all right in its place, so long as its place was not here, where it might demand of them a change of heart. The gravest error of the nice people in all ages is the denial of sin.”

– Archbishop Fulton Sheen